9 things to do this week with kids in Pittsburgh, from chocolate chips to Nerf battles

Photo: Jasmine Cho.

Brace yourself: The forecast is calling for a 100% chance of fun. This week’s lineup of kid-centric events runs the gamut from science experiments and trout fishing to zip lines and drive-in movies. Here are our top picks for things to do with kids this week in Pittsburgh.

1. Register for a free cookie cooking class with Jasmine Cho (at home)

We’ve had great fun so far following Kidsburgh and Remake Learning Days’ Cookie Table series with the remarkable Jasmine Cho. The programming continues on April 23 at 7 p.m. with a session celebrating World Book Day. The virtual workshop includes a reading of the much-loved book, “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie.” In the cooking class portion, Jasmine will share instructions for baking chocolate chip cookies three ways: Thin and crispy, chewy, or soft and puffy. Once signed up, you will receive the recipes along with the Zoom link. Registration is free.

Movie poster courtesy of Walt Disney Animation Studios.

2. Watch a movie at a drive-in (in person)

Allegheny County Parks continues its spring season of free flicks with “Zootopia” (PG) on April 16 at Boyce Park and April 17 at Settlers Cabin Park. The movie screens at dusk. No registration is required, but capacity is limited with admission offered on a first-come, first-served basis.

Rivers of Steel revives its Carrie Carpool Cinema, returning this weekend with a filmed-in-Pittsburgh theme at the Carrie Blast Furnaces. August Wilson’s “Fences” (PG-13) starring Denzel Washington screens on April 16 and “The Dark Knight Rises” (PG-13) with Christian Bale follows on April 17. Tony Buba’s short films will preview both movies. Tickets are $5 for kids and $9 for their grownups. Reserve your parking spot here to avoid disappointment.

Image courtesy of Carnegie Museum of Art.

3. Imagine your family’s future (at home)

This month’s edition of the Carnegie Museum of Art Story Sunday series is set for April 18. Kids ages 12 and younger are invited to Zoom in on a reading of “What We’ll Build: Plans for Our Together Future” by Oliver Jeffers. The story is about a dad and his daughter who use special tools to begin to build their future life together. “What We’ll Build” will inspire kids to imagine a life ahead filled with love and creativity. They’ll craft a picture frame through the accompanying maker activity. Once signed up, families will receive a list of needed materials and the Zoom link. Registration is set at pay-what-you-wish pricing.

Photo courtesy of Citiparks.

4. Experiment with Sky High Science (in person)

Citiparks partners with Venture Outdoors to bring the fun side of science to new heights on April 21 at Phillips Recreation Center. Sky High Science will explore what sunlight is made of and determine whether a plastic bottle can fly. Registration is free. Check out lots of other free Citiparks events like Kindersports, Kids of STEEL Running Club and Art in the Park at this link.

Photo courtesy of Fern Hollow Nature Center.

5. Learn to fish and catch a trout (in person)

Enjoy a fresh air outing with Fern Hollow Nature Center and the Sewickley Valley Conservation Association. The organizations are hosting a free Youth Fishing Day from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on April 17 at Soggy Bottom Lake. Park at Bell Acres Recreation Park and a shuttle will take you and your kids to the lake. Bring your own rod and reel or use the equipment available on-site. Masks are required and equipment will be sanitized before and after each use. No registration is needed.

Image courtesy of Heinz History Center.

6. Treasure the calm of sensory-friendly days (in person)

Heinz History Center and Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum host their first Sensory Friendly Days in recognition of Autism Awareness Month. Kids with Autism Spectrum Disorders or other sensory sensitivities receive free admission for themselves along with a caregiver on April 18 and 19. The History Center modifications include lighting adjustments, designated rest spaces and a reduction of loud sounds and movement. Space is limited, so be sure to register early with timed tickets.

Photo courtesy of Turf Attack Indoor Nerf Battlefield.

7. Get blasted! (in person)

Here’s a different way to battle with your kids. Turf Attack Indoor Nerf Battlefield is a family-friendly experience for kids ages 4 and up and their grownups. Turf Attack admission includes all the equipment you need — blasters, ammunition and safety glasses — which are sanitized before and after use. Public play times cost $10 for a half-hour, $15 for an hour and $25 for two hours of play. Or schedule a private group booking for as few as six players.

Image courtesy of Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.

8. Listen to the Sound All Around (at home)

Since kids can’t visit Fiddlesticks at Pittsburgh Symphony concerts, the orchestra mascot is sending music appreciation to kids. The symphony created a series of Fidd Kits for ages 3-8. The current theme, Sound All Around, helps kids recognize the music that surrounds them in their daily lives. Each kit is stuffed with craft supplies, instrument trading cards, an activity book and concession recipes. The deadline to order the $10 Fidd Kit is April 16.

Photo by Sally Quinn.

9. Make like a monkey (in person)

Kids who relish physical challenges and high-flying adventure will be excited to learn that Go Ape! opens for the season on April 17. This North Park forest canopy course takes adventurers through 39 obstacles, including tree-to-tree crossings, Tarzan swings and zip lines, the longest of which is a screaming 440 feet. Some of the platform elements allow you to choose between easy, advanced or expert, which can add more competition among siblings. Minimum age and height requirements are 10 years and 55 inches tall. New this year is a separate Axe Throwing feature. Covid rules include staying one gorilla (6 feet) apart, full-fingered gloves, cashless payments and masks during check-in. Book your treetop adventure here.

Photo courtesy of Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy.

Bonus events: Check out 10 groups helping kids celebrate Earth Day throughout April.